There are many bootlegs of 2 Tone bands flying around these days online, but we’ve decided to focus here on mainly vinyl bootlegs that were produced back in the day or those with original content.

Live in Manchester

A fine soundboard recording of a pre-Rico and Dick Cuthell version of The Specials. The gigography included in Paul Williams’s detailed account of the band, You’re Wondering Now’, lists Russell Club, 15th June 1979 as a possible location and date for this recording. Neville plugging the new release of ‘Gangsters’ would certainly go someway in confirming this.

Live at the Moonlight Club 1979

The Moonlight Club, West Hampstead London 2 May 1979 saw Terry Hall offering some sound advice to potential voters on the eve of a UK general election. It’s a professional recording which was given an official release on 2 Tone in 1992. It’s shame that the official recording removed a lot of the between song banter which was included on the bootleg version.

Niteklubbing Monkey Men

A good quality recording of a gig at the MarketHall, Hamburg, Germany on 16th January 1980. It’s a fairly bland release and the rather lacklustre sleeve does little to add to its appeal.


The first of two outings for this recording sourced from a gig at Boston Paradise on 30th January 1980. Given that the bootleggers had an FM radio broadcast at their disposal it’s perhaps a bit surprising that this recording suffers from so much distortion. Terry Hall’s bizarre Jimmy Cagney intro to Rat Race doesn’t help matters either.

Rude Boys Out Of Jail

A second release of the Boston Paradise gig. This time on Centrifugal Records who also released the Madness bootleg ‘Mistakes’ recorded at the same venue. It was mastered at the wrong speed which results in Terry’s vocal pitch dropping by a few tones. Not the most essential of bootlegs.


Don’t let the high quality sleeve and super heavyweight vinyl fool you. This release offers very little to the dedicated fan. It’s only salvation is the inclusion of five live tracks recorded for the US College radio show ‘The King Biscuit Flower Hour’ and broadcast 25th May 1980 as part of a double bill with The Boomtown Rats. The remainder of the tracks have all been officially released in some form or other.